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A peek at the 2021 French Film Festival

by Bernard O'Shea

Thirty-seven French films are on their way to Australia for the 2021 Alliance Française French Film Festival, which will be screened at Palace Cinemas in seven cities and two satellite locations. The action starts on March 2 and continues until April 20 (full details at bottom).

Last year’s festival, of course, was disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 but it made a surprise return on Bastille Day, and in the end 2020 wasn’t a bad year for French Film in Australia.  The postponement of many Hollywood blockbuster-type films meant some of the 2020 French Film Festival offerings, such as The Mystery of Henri Pick and The Translators, got an extended run in Australian arthouse cinemas. Indeed as I write, one – La Bonne Épouse/How To Be A Good Wife, starring Juliette Binoche – is still screening in Australia.

The festival celebrates its 32nd anniversary this year, and has a new artistic director, Karine Mauris.  Here’s the official trailer.


Tantalising highlights

The picture at the top of this post is a still from the film Adieu Les Cons/Bye Bye Morons, described in the official press release as “a madcap quest filled with adventure, peril and bewildering encounters”.  IMDB summarises it a lot more prosaically: “A seriously ill woman tries to find her long-lost child with the help of a man in the middle of a burnout and a blind archivist.”

Other films that sound fun are:

  • Miss, “a joyful, yet thought-provoking film about a boy who dreams of transcending traditional binary gender definitions by entering the Miss France beauty pageant”.
  • Cinquième set/Final Set … an ageing, injury-riddled tennis player takes one last shot at winning the French Open.
  • Aline (pictured below), for fans of Celine Dion. Written by, directed by and starring Valérie Lemercier, it’s “a fiction based on the life of Celine Dion”.

A scene from the French film Aline


French Film Festival dates and locations

  • Sydney, March 2-31
  • Melbourne, March 3-31
  • Canberra, March 4-31
  • Perth, March 10 to April 7
  • Hobart, March 11-20
  • Brisbane, March 17 to April 13
  • Adelaide, March 23 to April 20
  • Byron Bay, March 24 to April 14
  • Parramatta, April 8-11

All but Hobart and Parramatta will have encore seasons of between two and five extra days. Details on the official festival website.

The film selected to open the festival is Eiffel, the story of France’s most famous landmark and its maker, Gustave Eiffel. It’s a gripping story – read all about it here. M5R

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Zora 06/03/2021 - 5:10 pm

Looking forward to seeing some of the films at the festival this year.

bernieoshea 07/03/2021 - 12:19 am

MIght see you there then 🙂 There are some really good ones on the program, including Eiffel – which has just gone up on the website.


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